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Asia Cup 2022: India have really missed Hardik Pandya in past games, says Rashid Khan

On Sunday (August 28), in the all-important India vs Pakistan Asia Cup 2022 match, Hardik Pandya was adjudged the ‘Player of the match’ after claiming three wickets with the ball and 33 off 17 balls while batting.

Asia Cup 2022: India have really missed Hardik Pandya in past games, says Rashid Khan

Team India all-rounder Hardik Pandya has made a sensational comeback from injury this year. Pandya first led debutants Gujarat Titans to the IPL 2022 title and since then has been integral part of Team India with both bat and ball.

On Sunday (August 28), in the all-important India vs Pakistan Asia Cup 2022 match, Pandya was adjudged the ‘Player of the match’ after claiming three wickets with the ball and 33 off 17 balls while batting.

Speaking to reporters ahead of their Asia Cup 2022 clash against Bangladesh, Afghanistan’s Rashid opined that Team India has missed Pandya in the recent games. “In the IPL, Hardik has shown composure in crunch situations and has taken his team over the line. This is exactly what he did yesterday as he was clear to take the game till the end and then finish it off. India have really missed him in the past few games. The hard work that he has done in the IPL has really helped him a lot and the result is in front of everyone,” Rashid said.

Afghanistan began their campaign in the Asia Cup in the UAE, thrashing Sri Lanka by eight wickets in Group B on August 27, signalling they cannot be taken lightly with a wealth of talent in the side.

Opener Hazratullah Zazai and Rahmanullah Gurbaz gave a rollicking start to the chase after left-arm pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi had grabbed three wickets to demolish the former Asia Cup champions to 105 in 19.4 overs. As Afghanistan look set to take on Bangladesh in their second Group B match in Sharjah later on Tuesday, Rashid, who has also honed his batting and bowling skills playing in various T20 leagues across the world, including the Indian Premier League, said to ESPNcricinfo that the lack of experience in Test cricket is compensated by playing in the T20 leagues.

“We don’t play a lot of longer format cricket. It is about the FTP (Future Tours Programme), and not in the players’ hands. We want to play a lot of international cricket, so that our youngsters can understand the environment to improve their skills. Since we play a lot of international leagues, it gives us the opportunity to learn from the best players. We bring that experience to the international team. We share that with the rest of the team.

“Especially in the batting department it helps if we play more international leagues. If there’s international duty, you have to be present. It is always first priority. But we are hopeful of playing more international games in the coming years,” Rashid, who played a key role in guiding Gujarat Titans to victory in IPL 2022, was quoted as saying in the report.

Rashid felt whoever is able to handle pressure better in the Asia Cup clash later on Tuesday will have the advantage. “We have more youngsters now than before. Most of the guys enjoy this short format. We are playing in Sharjah after a long time, but at the same time, our cricket remains the same. We know our roles. We are playing Bangladesh away for the first time since Dehradun, so it has been four years. At the same time, whoever plays better cricket and controls their nerve in the big game, they will do the best. As a team, we will prepare well and go with a fresh mind and enjoy the cricket.”

(with IANS inputs)

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